A picture of two gay lovers in St Petersburg has won the World Press Photo of the Year. Photographer Mads Nissen wanted to highlight the legal and social discrimination gay people in Russia face.
The photo in which the faces of Jon, 21, and Alex, 25, are picked out by light in a darkened bedroom, won the ‘contemporary issues’ category before taking the overall prize, beating more conventional conflict shots that the competition is best known for.
“Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia,” Amsterdam-based World Press Photo said in a statement. “Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination.”
Jury chair Michele McNally, director of photography at The New York Times, said the image was “aesthetically powerful, and it has humanity.”
The photo was taken by Mads Nissen, who was born in 1979, a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken.
Nissen’s “Homophobia in Russia” work featured in Human Rights Watch’s latest report License to Harm.
The first prize for a single spot news image went to Bulent Kilic of Turkey for a picture of an injured girl surrounded by police and soaked by water cannons at a protest in Istanbul.
“Istanbul Protest” and “Ebola in Sierra Leone” also picked up awards in the competition.
World Press Photo 2014 – a selection of the winning entries
THE BECKHAM CATCH
By Al Bello, USA. Photo details Credit: Reuters/Al Bello/Gety Images
By Ami Vitale, USA. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Ami Vitale/National Geographic
THE FINAL GAME
By Bao Tailiang, China Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Bao Tailiang/Chengdu Economic Daily.
By Bulent Kilic, Turkey. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Bulent Kilic/AFP/.
FAMILY LOVE 1993-2014
By Darcy Padilla, USA. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Bulent Kilic/AFP.
MASS ABDUCTION IN NIGERIA
By Glenna Gordon, USA. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Glenna Gordon.
JON AND ALEX
By Mads Nissen, Denmark. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Mad Nissen/Politiken/Panos Pictures/Scanpix.
By Massimo Sestini, Italy. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Massimo Sestini.
By Paolo Verzone, Italy. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Paolo Verzone/Agence Vu
EBOLA IN SIERRA LEONE
By Pete Muller, USA. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Pete Muller/Prime/National Geographic/The Washington Post/.
By Raphaela Rosella, Australia. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Raphaela Rosella/Oculi.
By Ronghui Chen, China. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Ronghui Chen/City Express.
By Sergei Ilnitsky, Russia. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA.
BLUE SKY DAYS
By Tomas Van Houtryve, Belgium. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Tomas van Houtryve/VII.
MONKEY TRAINING FOR A CIRCUS
By Yongzhi Chu, China. Photo details. Credit: Reuters/Yongzhi Chu.